Archaic Torso of Apollo

each Valentine's I memorize a poem for my husband. Don't want to spoil this year's, so here is the one from two years ago. This is by R.M. Rilke, a translation by H. Landman -- the best of the three translations I found, in my opinion.

Archaic Torso of Apollo

We never knew his fantastic head,
where eyes like apples ripened. Yet
his torso, like a lamp, still glows
with his gaze which, although turned down low,

lingers and shines. Else the prow of his breast
couldn't dazzle you, nor in the slight twist
of his loins could a smile run free
through that center which held fertility.

Else this stone would stand defaced and squat
under the shoulders' diaphanous dive
and not glisten like a predator's coat;

and not from every edge explode
like starlight: for there's not one spot
that doesn't see you. You must change your life.

- R. M. Rilke

Since my husband often asks to hear last years' poem after the current years, and this is his favorite-favorite, it is working back into the memory banks even now. only 2 weeks left! Don't worry, this year's poem is already in. And, in the process of memorizing these, his favorite poems for a variety of reasons, I fall in love with them myself. And re-fall in love with the man who loves them.

(see others here and here)
(and why?)

2 comments:

deborah oak said...

thanks for being part of the blogosphere poetry slam!

deborah oak said...

oh....and you can add it to the list being kept at:
http://pagantheologies.pbwiki.com/Silent-Imbolc-poetry-reading-2007
which links to your site and the poem.